Ibogaine and addiction

Russell Mast mastrd at ctrvax.Vanderbilt.edu
Fri Oct 29 13:53:44 EST 1993

In article <1993Oct28.150614.2863 at antioch.edu>, jerwin at antioch.edu wrote:

> I recently read in the New York Times (Wednesday, 27 Oct 1993, page b7)
> that the FDA has approved the preliminary tests of Ibogaine on
> drug abusers.

I, too, read about the funding of serious research into ibogaine treatment,
I think in a little Chicago-based leftist news mag called "In These Times",
though perhaps it was elsewhere.

> This drug is supposed to break down an addiction by stimulating 
> cells in the cerebellum with the aid of the inferior olive. This
> subject has brough up two questions in my mind.
> How exactly is the cerebellum related to memory (spec. drug addiction)?

As for the relation of ibogaine to cerebellum, or any other specific brain
structures, I cannot comment.  As for the relation between "memory" and
drug addiction, I guess I don't understand what you mean.  My understanding
is that the brain structures most involved in addiction and related
behaviors are telencephalic limbic nucleii, like the septal nuclei.  

> What are the long term effects of Ibogaine treatment.   <deletia>
> Also, if anyone can direct me to the scientific literature concerning
> Ibocaine, I would be most appreciative.

If memeory serves, one of the reasons that this is exciting is that there
is virtually NO scientific literature yet about ibogaine and its uses and
hazards in human subjects, only anecdotal reports.  But, somehow, these
anecdotal reports were taken to be promising.

Also, in terms of long-term effects and trade-offs of addiction to one
substance over another, the big hoopla over the anecdotal reports is that
ibogaine treatment _reportedly_ breaks the addiction, not replaces it. 
That is, some heroin addicts claimed to have come clean after one or two
uses, and never returned to heroin.  If these claims were to be confirmed,
that acute use of this substance could prevent a chronic addiction, well,
that would be quite a boon for society.  (Not to mention outrageous profits
for whomever may have a financial stake in the stuff, even if the
government forced them to keep prices under control.)

Personally, I doubt that the most extreme anecdotal reports will be borne
out in the results.  Nonetheless, the prospect of advancing drug-addiction
treatment technology, even a little, makes this venture, IMO, worthwhile.  


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